Yesterday I woke up feeling protected by a warm glow of light and grace. I knew everything I had on deck for the day: Port draw pre-chemo at Pluta, appointment with my Oncologist to discuss the results of my CT scan, and then, a new chemo that is known to cause severe allergic reactions in 5% of patients (and you don’t know if you’re one of them until they start the drip… how comforting)…. and yet, I didn’t feel heavy. I felt light.
I took a relaxing bath, went for a run on the treadmill (yes, that should be in reverse order, but I want the running to be the last thing I do before I leave the house before chemo so my lungs receive the most benefit from the cardio-induced blood flow), and ate my “twig soup”-a chinese soup that is supposed to support red blood counts (and it did! my counts went up last time after consuming the soup for just 3 days prior to treatment…. I’m still anemic, but I don’t need a blood transfusion, I just need to get up slowly so that I don’t faint..). My mom and I headed to Pluta. As far as chemo-days go, it was a relatively uneventful morning: No closet doors slammed so hard they fall off the track (me), no picture frames thrown (me), no tears (mom or me). I had this knowing in my gut that it was going to be a good day.
And thank God I can begin to trust my gut again, after the crazy shit storm its been for the last year. My whole world has been rocked, I’ve lost the ground underneath me multiple times. So when I woke up yesterday, I knew it was a different kind of day, and surprisingly I didn’t really doubt it too much. I knew I could rest easy, and I was right.
My oncologist walked into my appointment with a smile on her face. “Today is a good day. We have good news!” and I blurted out “So tell me already!!!!”
The abridged version of my CT Scan:
Redemonstration of multiple innumerable pulmonary nodules with interval decrease in size in some of them when compared to prior, along with decreased mediastinal, axillary, and hilar lymphadenopathy, and interval resolution of the previous mammary chain soft tissue densities. These findings are consistent with treatment response.
First of all, the spots on my lungs aren’t large enough to be considered “masses” (3 cm or bigger) they are “nodules” (1 cm or less), and I’m thankful for that. Some of them have gotten noticeably smaller, which is significant because the smaller they are in the dimension, the more difficult it is to see a change in size. All of the lymph nodes that were enlarged with disease have shrunken, and the internal mammary densities have completely disappeared. I am so thankful that this chemo hell is worth it, and that, according to my oncologist, the worst (adriamycin and cytoxan) is behind me-Taxol (if you’re not allergic to it) is much better tolerated. No more nausea!!!! CAN I GET A AMEN FOR NO MORE PUKING!
I also won’t have to take steroids after treatment, I just get them the day of treatment through the IV, so hopefully the bloating that I feel constantly will begin to subside. I still get compliments on my cheekbones which makes me feel like I’m the only one that sees the puffiness in my face. Or that people are just trying to be nice. Either way, it’s nice to hear every once in a while.
Yesterday’s Taxol treatment went fine. I was pretty nervous when my nurse wheeled out the oxygen tank… my eyes bugged out of my head, and my nurse said, “Relax, baby, this is just protocol. You’re gunna be fine”, and she was right. I was. They give everyone 50 g of benadryl through the iv beforehand, and holy crap. I was in the middle of conversation with the social worker at Pluta when all of a sudden the benadryl hit me and I sincerely felt drunk. I kept asking her if I was making any sense. Apparently I was, but I don’t really remember the conversation. Who knew Benadryl could make me feel like that?
I sincerely want to sing again sometimes. That’s HUGE. After a year of being almost completely silent, I might be ready to start singing. I want to delve into the beauty of Schubert, Schumann, Verdi, Wolf, Massenet, Mozart, Handel, and most of all… my beloved Debussy. If not singing, then at least listening. Music heals. Music gives life. I need healing. I need all things life-giving.
When I am back in shape vocally (hopefully soon), I would like to set up a benefit recital in which some of the proceeds go to metastatic breast cancer research. I will keep you posted as this idea manifests.
Thank you for all of your love and support. It is appreciated more than you know.